Sunday, June 5, 2011
The Story: Pete, Linc and Julie move into a beach side home to protect Janny Willis, a blind-woman who was recently attacked near the ocean. Her assailant doesn't realize she is blind though and is convinced Janny can ID him, a fact which makes her a virtual moving target for the Squad to protect.
The Crew: "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" finds Earl Bellamy returning to the director's chair for The Mod Squad and he delivers his typically confident, if not overly exciting, touch to it. Also returning to the fold is writer Edward Lakso, who had previously penned the solid Season One episodes "Shell Game" and "The Sunday Drivers". Sadly Lakso's work on "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" isn't as memorable as it was on those previous two episodes and the episode can't be counted as one of Season One's better hours.
The Guest-Stars: Perhaps the most memorable thing about "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" is getting the chance to watch Clarence Williams III act with his real-life wife Gloria Foster. The Chicago born Foster, who sadly passed away in 2001, was already nearing forty when she shot her first Mod Squad episode but she only had a few screen credits to her name, including a role in the Burton-Taylor vehicle The Comedians and an episode of I Spy. The talented Foster would soon become more in demand and her credits after The Mod Squad would include everything from The Cosby Show to The Matrix!
"A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" also finds the incredibly prolific Virginia Gregg making a memorable appearance as Janny's care-giver Helen. A former radio actor and personality the Illinois Greg would appear in hundreds of television shows and films before her death in 1986, with her last gigs being uncredited voice-work in both Psycho II and Psycho III.
Lou Krugman, Beverly McKinsey, John Milford and Hank Patterson round-out the list of guest stars for "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light".
The Verdict: A decent if not overly dynamic season one episode of The Mod Squad, "A Hint of Darkness, a Hint of Light" benefits greatly from the performance of Clarence Williams III and the chemistry he has with guest star Gloria Foster. Since this is a clearly Linc driven episode there is relatively little for Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton to do so it never sparks in the way that the best of The Mod Squad episodes do. Still, this isn't a bad entry in the series and, outside of being a bit draggy in spots, it makes for fairly compelling viewing. The episode would spark a sequel of sorts with "Return to Darkness, Return to Light", a 1970 episode that would find Foster reprising her role as Janny Willis.